Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

Crazy Rich Asean: Landmark fashion show demonstrating diversity and unity

Abu Dhabi was host of a special event showcasing the talents of women from seven South East Asian countries

As the sun set on Abu Dhabi yesterday evening, some of the UAE’s most influential women joined together to celebrate the culture of South East Asia in an event that was the first of its kind in the region.

Crazy Rich Asean, a name organisers admit they came up with by “shamelessly” jumping on the bandwagon of one of the year’s most popular films, was a fashion show held in the stunning grounds of the Residence of the Singapore Ambassador.

The show celebrated designers and traditions from seven of the ten Asean countries including Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia. The evening started with each nation showcasing traditional garments from their country, introducing the crowd to styles and outfits unique to each country.

The evening’s main fashion show was opened by Singapore-based designer Balqeez, which has stores in the UAE and designs intricate abayas. Ayaso Boutique, a Dubai-based brand with Indonesian roots, also showcased a stunning collection of eight abayas, demonstrating the mix of influences from the Middle East and Asean countries.

A collection of dresses from Robinsons, the Singapore-based department store which has just arrived in the UAE, was also modelled, alongside collections from two Filipino designers - Aldwin Guardiana and Bella Donna – both based in Abu Dhabi.

“You have Singapore, you have Philippines, you have Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia - seven countries for the first time have come together to host an event, never has it been heard of before, and for this event, they wanted it to be about women’s empowerment, especially in the Middle East because there are so many amazing things going on,” says Jean Winter, who helped to organise the event.

“I used this opportunity to showcase women from Asia and their many talents that we can all be proud of. It was a very powerful event for the seven countries to come together for the first time in the region.

"We wanted to show a little bit about Asean, because most people don’t know much about us as a block. They think of Asia or they think of individual countries, but we are showing people that we have come together to organise something for the sake of our local friends.”

Updated: February 1, 2019 05:43 PM

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